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Hiring our Heroes Spotlight: Michael

Michael headshot

Michael D. | Consultant, Business Operations | Colorado, USA

Originally Published: June 21, 2022

At Dell Technologies, we make it our mission to recruit the next generation of leaders and innovators to help us thrive in an ever-competitive market. To achieve that, we do our best to fill our ranks with team members that are diverse in background and thought.

Over the years, we’ve found that veterans are a key talent pool to tap into. The skills and experiences shared by veterans bring discipline, commitment and loyalty to their positions and their surrounding teams.

To help us find the best in veteran talent, Dell Technologies is a proud partner of the Hiring our Heroes Corporate Fellowship program. The HOH Fellows Programs are best-in-class workforce development programs that place highly skilled and educated transitioning service members, veterans, military spouses, and military caregivers with employers committed to hiring them.

In today’s feature, you’ll get to meet Michael D., Consultant of Business Operations for APEX Engineering. We got to talk about his experience as a corporate fellow and some fun stories from his time in service. Check it out below:

Michael, let’s start with the easy stuff. Tell us a little bit about you!

I was born in Colorado Springs, CO. My father was Active Duty Air Force when I was born. Growing up in a military family meant I was raised all over the place (Colorado, Washington D.C., United Kingdom, Michigan, and Republic of Panama).

I graduated High School (1991) in the Republic of Panama (Panama Canal Zone) and joined the Air Force in March 1992. My hobbies include kayaking, researching/visiting historical places, traveling and spending time with my family. I’ve been married to my lovely wife for 28 years (met in the Air Force while she was on active duty as well) and we have two sons (25 and 22). Our oldest son is currently on active duty with the Air Force.

Wow, a military family through and through! What was your experience coming up the ranks in the Air Force?

I joined the Air Force in March 1992 and retired from active duty in December 2021. I had numerous deployments in support of Bosnia, Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. My military experience includes Electronic Warfare, Combat Communications, Remotely Piloted Vehicles (Predator and Reaper Drones), Communication-Electronics Maintenance, IT, Cyber, and Space.

My last job in the Air Force was as a Senior Enlisted Leader for the United States Space Force leading over 1,000 personnel around the globe managing Space Access (ability for over 185 space vehicles in various orbital regimes being able to connect with terrestrial ground antennas around the globe) as well as standing up the U.S. Space Force Defensive Cyber Operations mission.

Being on the ground floor of the standing up of a new service was certainly a highlight of my career as the last branch of service to be created in the DoD before the U.S. Space Force in 2018 was the U.S. Air Force back in 1947.

That resume is impressive. With your background, I can imagine you could’ve gone a handful of directions with your career choice. Was Dell top of mind when you began to evaluate your options?

Not really. I figured as someone who’s led cyber operations, possesses a space mission background, and had a security clearance I would have been a DoD civilian or defense contractor after leaving the military.  When Dell expressed interest as part of the Hiring Our Heroes process, I was intrigued.

Now that you’re here, how do you feel about your career prospects? Do you feel like you’re continuously challenged within your role?

Definitely. APEX is like a business start-up. I’ve come from the military that’s very structured with very clear left and right boundaries as well as established policy and regulation. Structure is being built into APEX as its foundation continues to be poured and the business fully created.

I enjoy the challenges this brings as it reminds me of the challenges the U.S. Space Force has been going thru as it’s evolved from the U.S. Air Force. Every day at Dell so far has been a learning day. That keeps me engaged and energized and looking forward to what each day will bring.

After serving time in the military, we know that being able to be present and free to spend time with your family is most likely a priority. What has your experience been in terms of the work/life balance at Dell?

This has been a huge highlight of my time with Dell. I have no afterhours commitments or expectations. I’ve been able to have much more quality time with my family since being here at the company.

To end our chat I wanted to pick your brain on the Dell culture. Did it make an impact on your decision to convert into a full-time employee?

Dell not only says it’s a family, but the actions of fellow employees and business units bring that meaning to life.  I was impressed with the company culture after my first interview with my first hiring manager.

The experience made me feel like I was already part of the team (even though I know I hadn’t been selected yet and more candidates had to be interviewed). The atmosphere was so friendly and the three people who interviewed me were genuine.

Culture at Dell is not just words; there is action behind those words. Not all companies can say this. During my internship, I felt at home and did not miss what I did for the military or defense. The team was supportive in getting me up to speed and I knew I could ask any question. I was very pleased when offered the ability to convert to full time employment.

To learn about Military & Veterans at Dell, click here.

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